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What is Dishwasher Detergent Made of?

Jamie Conrad
Table of Contents

Dishwashing liquid keeps our dishes sparkling clean and ready for the next meal. It's also handy in a pinch if you run out of hand soap or shampoo, or for an impromptu car wash. You know what dish detergent is good for, but do you know what ingredients it contains?


Surfectants give dish detergent its characteristic foaminess. They also aid in dissolving fats from dishes.


Phosphates aid in removal of food and prevent filmy residue from forming on dishes. This gives your dishes a clean-looking finish.


This ingredient aids in removal of tains (think coffee or tea) and leaves a clean surface on the dishes you are washing.


Enzymes added to dish detergent break down food into particles that are washed away.


Fragrance is added to dish detergent to cover the odor of chemicals used to make the detergent as well as to eliminate stale food odors on the plates.